Going backwards is when not even the basics work anymore.
V4 is when it became bloated and power hungry. I’m sure there will be some that will find some of the enhancements useful, but I can’t believe anyone would choose them over having the stability and assurance that what they’re paying a lot of money for actually works when they turn up on site.
Having been forced to splash out on a Pro 20 in an effort to get over the performance problem, I’m now a further £1,300 down on an app that is somehow less stable than it was 7-8 months ago. Go figure!?
A very trying day of flight. I experienced all the same symptoms above. I did actually receive a “Slow Network” notification today so that seals the deal on the majority of the problems. The flight UI ran far behind actual events. In one instance the drone actually had flown all the way to the first waypoint and started taking images before the app registered any telemetry or movement of the icon.
Something new that I experienced was failure of the steps of the preflight check. Permissions went by fine each time, but I was told that the drone failed with the reasoning being obstacle avoidance. I have obstacle avoidance off in both DJI and DroneDeploy. Next the camera failed. I choose to continue anyway through both of these. This happened all 5 flights today, but on only one of the flights the controller check stalled. I flipped the mode switch from P to S to A and back to P, waited a couple of seconds and it then checked.
It may be a coincidence due to the severe lag in the system, but it almost felt like I was using a PC and had to double-click every action before it would work.
Today failed. I still had to use the tablet cellular and hotspot from my phone to get any where and still… With three restarts and the last attempt taking 30 seconds to load the dashboard, 25 seconds to fully load the project after tapped and 5.5 minutes to almost get through the Preflight checklist. The first attempt the checklist made it through without errors after a couple of minutes, but failed on the flight plan and was dead. It gave me the error stating plan exceeded settings in DJI Go, whatever that means. The second attempt lagged on permissions and failed on every step afterward, hanging on the camera. The third attempt failed on the drone and I gave up.
I ended up flying with Pix4D and Litchi. I had forgotten how simplistic and limited Pix4D Capture was, but it worked. I had to fly with a second app to get the rest of the assets, but it worked.
I can tell you that they are catering to a whole lot. DroneDeploy’s not focused on any one industry and when it was working, even 75% we were able to go from three or four apps to one for nearly all of our flights. Those “gimmicks” are an all-in-one workflow for us. Of course our data usage can be pretty intense so there’s always the other side of the road that wants just a simple flight app.
Presumably however, you need to be able to take off before you can implement your all-in-one workflow?
If they put half as much effort into fixing the core product, rather than ‘improving’ yet breaking things, they’d be catering for a whole lot more. All year, “We’ll be concentrating on sorting the bugs throughout the next quarter.” We heard it at the beginning of the year, I heard it it when we renewed our subscription midway through the second quarter and I’m sure we heard it last month. Nothing! It’s broke more now than it’s been in years.
Stop with the gimmicks, fix the damn app and work it up from there. If you want to play and tinker, do so with a Beta app. Not the one we paid for and are reliant on already.
I wish that were true. All the time they’ve been ‘working hard to fix the issues’, they magically come out with new features, but don’t seem to improve on what was broke. Instead, they somehow break something else but release it anyway whilst not warning anyone that if they update they’re going to be worse off than the day before, and with no way back. What have they fixed in 2020 that they’ve been working hard on? I was assured the 2nd quarter would be focused on fixing bugs and improving on performance. Nope!
I wish I had that luxury. Because of the issues I was having in my first year using Android, I bought the exact kit DD spec’d for me. Albeit I continued to have minor issues, they were all able to be worked around, but its lifespan was literally only a year because V4 failed on the performance front.
“Please fix it.”
5 months later “Please fix it.”
“You need to to buy another iPad Pro.”
“Now you’ve broken it even more. Please fix it.”
“It is next quarter.”
“No. The one we had and the one to come and by the way, we’re still experimenting with new features - see our latest Newsletter.”
There was a time for patience, and that ran out a month or so go.
Not appreciating that the app, or rather the company would consider releasing versions that were worse off than the previous (as who does that??) I was admittedly a little late to learn about turning off ‘auto-update’, but I have now. Just too late. That said, your Plan-B today resulted in abandoning DD and hopping over to other apps to get your job done. Another luxury I don’t have. I would hope given the money we’re paying, I wouldn’t have to subscribe to a second. I might as well just be using the stable alternative in the first place if that were the case.
All they have to do is make available the last stable version and continue experimenting/improving their app using a Beta. It really is that simple, but instead they remain quiet and ignore the problem. Only because I was promised by three different people, separately, that their efforts would be focused on fixing the app over the next quarter or two did I renew.
Sounds like you’re privy to the engineering chat and notes. I don’t think you have a clue of how much they’re working on.
Our luxury is another word called perserverance. Litchi is $25 and Pix4D is free so I don’t relate to how that’s a luxury.
You know your setup works with a whole slew of other softwares right? Move on and try again later. Imagine flying multiple times 5-6 days a week. You learn how to just get it done.
If you don’t see the potential or want to be part of the development then don’t. I’ve been through enough new tech solutions and beta testing over the last 15 years to know there are periods of pain to be expected.
How many official support tickets do you have in? This is a user forum not a company monitored support. I do my best to consolidate the issues and work with them, but it’s really not my job and they need to be receiving more tickets which I know they are not. In my opinion it should be the obligation of the OP of each thread to go through official support if we don’t have an answer here.
Please stay on topic of practical experience particular to this version.
I haven’t a clue. You’re right. I can only go off what I’m told by their staff and what results I see, which aren’t a great deal if we’re being honest. They might be working terribly hard, but the only results we have seen in 8 months (is it?) are new features.
The luxury I refer to is not only the small added expense of additional software on top of the new Pad I was talked into, but also taking the time out to learn and experiment with the new software. If I’ve invested the time and spent the money here, is it really my responsibility to find a workaround using two other competitor’s apps? That doesn’t sound like good commercial sense to me.
If I flew 5-6 times a week, I would have given up long ago. Over the course of the last 8 months, the app has gone from near perfect, to on its knees overnight, to on its stomach, back onto its knees and now no longer has a pulse. Again, is it sound commercial sense to experiment and play about with the stable version without beta or any other form of testing?! I am a client paying for this software, not a chimp. I don’t go out in the morning to find only three wheels on the car I’m leasing, because BMW have decided they’d like to see how I get on without the fourth? Why should I have to hire another car until BMW bring my wheel back, which is exactly what I’d be doing if I hopped over to other software.
I absolutely appreciate that development and progress is a necessity, but again, I cannot see the sense in grounding everyone whilst doing so. You’re absolutely right, but Beta is a Beta and they should not be replacing stable software with experimental, Beta software. This is simple stuff. They ought to be experimenting with their own app, not the one we’ve paid for and reliant on. And if they really are that eager to get it out there, for the love of God, test it first!?
Several. Several over the time of my subscription. But in all honestly, I gave up. The staff are incredibly polite and I have built up a good rapport with all of them, but there is no news. They apologise, thank me for my patience and say that it will be up and running soon…and that’s it. The last lengthy one, had me experimenting with the Photo Report, leading me to think they were going to make the small but necessary change needed for it to work, but then having put the effort in, and it really was hourssssss, they decided they no longer had any interest in fixing it. Dropped me like a stone, leaving me thinking “WTF just happened?”
In all honesty, if I had a support ticket in for this, what are they going to say? What is the point in raising a support ticket they are already “working very hard to fix” and everyone is suffering? What are they going to do for me? If there was a resolution, V4.9.1 would have been released, no? Or at the very least, an email circulated to all of their subscribers, apologising whilst giving the workaround.
On the basis @Andrew_Fraser has commented above already, I assumed he was looking in from time to time and that being the case, I am only too happy that he’ll be able to pick up on my frustration and chime in if he has any news,
I am going to agree with you on one major thing, DroneDeploy needs to release a legacy app now! @Jamespipe
The constant gripe sessions are going to help anything and are off-topic. Share practical experience on the topic or create your own topic.
That’s about right. New features are bringing the bugs so I am not sure what is so surprising there. I told them the week of v4 that the new UI was too much and we have been chasing that ever since. v4.6 almost had it, then I noticed some interface changes and it went awary with 4.7 and 4.8 was even worse. v4.9 is essentially the same as 4.8.
If you are trying to run a business then that’s your call. It’s my job to make it work.
No it’s not. I haven’t officially beta’d anything since v4.1 and have made that clear that what ever testing they are doing internally is insufficient. I think this is a major root of our problems and there’s really not much to discuss beyond it. In my opinion there needs to be at least 10 users with 10 flights before a feature version is released. Those users should encompass at least 5 different configurations of the supported hardware.
Several? Over the life of our subscription I have over 300 tickets and more chat sessions than I can count. Don’t give up. If you are truly getting poor service then this is the place to document that. Not ranting, but documentation. That get’s people moving.
Exactly why ranting is futile. They are trying. Trust that or not, that’s all you.
I suppose if I had the time or the aspiration to provide constant feedback, then I may well have raised more tickets, but they’re not paying me to test their software, in the same way I am not using it for free.
It’s not so much that the service from the employees is crap, it’s not. They are as informative as they can be. They’re patient and sometimes go into a lot of detail, but at the end of the day, they can only conclude that ‘“It’s not working”.
It’s the company. They don’t appear to understand that they need to be running the stable version in parallel with the beta, which is all I can refer to V4.9 as. A beta. In fact, I’m sure we can honestly consider anything beginning with a ‘4’ to be anything but a beta,
Agreed, get the stable/legacy version available and nobody can have anything to moan about. If the new features that are in development don’t work, it doesn’t prevent you from operating or ground you, and you haven’t lost anything you didn’t pay for. Once V4 is stable, that becomes the new legacy version and you then start experimenting with V5, at risk, but you always then have V4 to fall back on with confidence. If they did this, there would literally be no cause for complaint.
They might well be trying, but they’re trying to do the wrong thing. Try to release the legacy version and it’s fixed. Instantly.
Oddly enough I was still flying v4.9 and after reading a new post this morning claiming v4.11 flight I checked my iPad again and it still reported v4.9. There were no updates available until I manually searched for DroneDeploy in the App store and now it shows v4.11 available for updating. I am closing this topic and have moved @GeoTech post to a new thread.
Thank you all for your continued feedback on this topic.
I’d like to apologize again for the frustrating offline experience you’ve had this year. Since the initial release of v4 and our new dashboard, where many of these issues first surfaced, we have focussed on the online performance and made some progress there.
In v4.11 (which I would strongly recommend upgrading to), and the forthcoming v4.12, v4.13 and v4.14, our engineering team has been investing more in the offline experience, and so you should expect improvement in that area: for example showing local device data while we wait for a response from the server (no more infinite spinners). Due to specific customer commitments for online feature development we were not able to prioritise these offline workflows earlier, and you’ve rightly been holding us to account for that.
Our QA team of 5 pilots flies a total of around 470 flights per release, covering over 1500 test cases, and we are constantly making improvements and adding automation to that process as we find exceptions. The flight team have worked hard to transition into a weekly cadence for releases so that we can more quickly resolve any smaller issues that do make it through this extensive testing process.
Regarding the concept of having a “beta” program for major releases - this is something we already do on a per feature basis for larger changes. The overhead of doing so for incremental releases is not practical for a business of our size - instead we use feature flags to roll features out after releasing the app version. Unfortunately, due to the way we rolled out the new dashboard, that beta program did not uncover the major issues - folks who experienced them quickly opted out, while folks who did not were vocal in their approval of the new layout and features - leading us to mischaracterize the impact and reach. Recent feedback has been a wake up call for us on this approach.
Regarding re-releasing a legacy version of the app - unfortunately this is not practical due to the application’s complexity. It would certainly cause a variety of other issues for many customers, including incompatibility with more recent DJI firmware, breaking changes for new drone cameras, and reverting to old workflows for separate flights per pano and offline mobile upload queues.
Thanks again for flying with DroneDeploy, your engagement on the forum, and patience in repeatedly bringing these issues to our attention. We’ll continue working on these items until you again feel confident to fly in marginal or offline conditions without the lag and frustration many have experienced over the past six months.
Thank you so much for the insight! It is good to finally hear something besides that it is noted for 3 months. It may sound like we are being hypercritical, but we take the software and our programs seriously and I for one have pushed it for years and feel pretty foolish when a new user jumps on in this state.
My main point in testing was that there are so many drones, mobile devices and softwares firmwares on those devices that I don’t know how it gets covered without getting users involved. Pretty much every other software that I’ve been involved with has channels and closed forms free users to provide controlled reports on.
Now that we see the amount of testing that is being done it makes it even more frustrating that there are a couple of core issues that persist that seemingly would have been found.
I will be flying v4.11 tomorrow and will report back to that thread.
The most challenging tests to reliably execute are marginal signal (internat and drone) conditions - it is however possible to simulate marginal signal conditions on iOS and we intend to build that into our process going forwards. We’re doing about 2x the volume of testing today than we were able to a few months ago and have doubled the headcount in the team.
James, thank you for taking the time and being candid. Can you share why having the flight app connected to the internet during mission capture is such a high priority for you? Couldn’t you build in a user-contolled switch that would turn off the app looking for a data connection all together and thereby allow a lite processor experience for those that don’t need what you’re trying to provide by being tethered? It’s frustrating from those using the app for capture seeing it degraded in order to provide an experience that we don’t need. The user could then turn the switch back on if they want to plan and/or connect to DD servers.